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The Return of Sound System Scratch

The Return of Sound System Scratch

The Return of Sound System Scratch

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We're not scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to Lee Perry releases, because Scratch had a very deep barrel.


Pressure Sounds upsets with the amazing sequel to 'Sound System Scratch, Return Of Sound System Scratch'. This incredible collection of Black Ark dub plates and heavy roots music is now available on CD, MP3 and double LP; serious collectors will want to check for the limited edition double LP. Return Of Sound System ScratchAs if all of this wasn't enough, Pressure Sounds have also come up with a cool 7" single of Strong Drink, a melodica cut of Junior Murvin's False Teacher featuring a mind-bending dub plate version on the B-side.

'Return Of Sound System Scratch' is arguably a stronger collection than 'Sound System Scratch'. Sound quality is better throughout (although audiophiles always seem to find something to moan about when it comes to reggae) and the choice of material – almost everything is previously unreleased – is excellent. Although all of the tracks are great, a few deserve special mention. The first revelation is the previously unreleased Righteous Land by Aleas Jube; while Jube's vocals are nothing special, the jaunty rhythm track is a delight, especially when stripped down on its dub version, Righteous Rocking. Junior Murvin's terrific version of the Impressions' sublime People Get Ready is here as Get Ready in a seldom-heard alternate mix. Another revelation comes from Full Experience vocalist Candy Mackenzie, who performs a gritty cover of Jeff Barry's Walkin' In The Sun, retitled Long Enough. Mackenzie's brassy vocals give the song an authenticity that is lacking on the original tune; perhaps Scratch was inspired by the later B.B. King version. Leo Graham fans will be happy to hear Revelation Time, a sterling roots number that is reminiscent of Leo's Joe Gibbs single Perilous Time. The melancholy Darkness In The City by Jimmy Riley has always been one of my favourite early Black Ark tracks. It's a harrowing tune that paints a vivid picture of urban violence on top of a bouncy, minimalist keyboard skank. Mistakenly credited to Judge Winchester on the 1974 Black Art single, it's nice to see this haunting roots track see the light of day again. And of course there are the dub plates and alternate mixes of well known tunes such as I've Got The Groove by George Faith, the Upsetters' Enter The Dragon and Scratch's powerful Jah Jah Ah Natty Dread, here in previously unheard, extra Upsetting, outer space style.

In a word, outstanding. 'Return Of Sound System Scratch' proves that we're not scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to Lee Perry releases, because Scratch had a very deep barrel.

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